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Canada squad announced for Wales clash at 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup

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Canada Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made four changes to his starting lineup for his team’s fifth place semifinal matchup with Wales Tuesday at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland.

Coming off a disappointing loss to New Zealand that ended Canada’s World Cup title dreams, Ratier has inserted four different players into the starting lineup and made one alteration amongst positions as the team prepares for Wales. 

After a consistent forward unit for the first three matches of the WRWC, both Olivia DeMerchant and Cindy Nelles will get the call to start on Tuesday, with DeMerchant replacing DaLeaka Menin in the front row and Nelles taking Kayla Mack’s position in the second row.

The back line will see Brittany Waters get her first start of this year’s competition at centre, replacing Alex Tessier, while Frederique Rajotte will take the place of star winger Magali Harvey, who is unavailable for selection due to injury but likely to return for the final match on the 26th. Rajotte is back in the starting lineup after opening the tournament as a starting winger against Hong Kong.

Ratier will also flip-flop Julianne Zussman and Elissa Alarie, with Zussman starting at fullback and Alarie moving to the wing. The move sees both players return to the starting positions they held when Canada faced Wales in pool play.

This will be the second time these two teams have seen each other in the last 10 days. In their pool play meeting, Canada, who are ranked No. 3 in the World Rugby rankings, knocked off the Welsh 15-0 to earn their first ever WRWC victory over Wales, who are currently ranked No. 9. The winner of Tuesday’s semifinal will play in the fifth-place game against the winner of the other semifinal between Australia and Ireland.

This is just the second time in the last six WRWC competitions that Canada has missed the Cup semifinals. The last time Canada was in the fifth place semifinal at the WRWC was in 2010 when they faced Scotland. Canada advanced to the fifth place final with a 41-0 win, but eventually finished sixth overall after a 23-20 loss to the USA.

Canada has never finished lower than sixth at the WRWC, coming in sixth in 1994 and fifth in 1991. In the years that Canada earned a semifinal berth, they finished second in 2014 and fourth in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Canada and Wales have met four times in the WRWC. Prior to their contest in this year’s tournament, the two sides previously met in 1991, when they played to a 9-9 draw, and in 1994, when Wales edged Canada 11-5. All three of their previous meetings were in pool play.

Kick-off between Canada and Wales is set for 12pm ET/9am PT on Tuesday.